O’Callaghan Properties (OCP), the developers of Navigation Square, are planning to push ahead with the construction of two additional office blocks at the Albert Quay site, despite the globally challenging business environment.
Cork City Council granted planning permission, subject to conditions, on Monday to OCP to modify the plans for Block D, which originally had permission for five storeys of office accommodation, but has now been permitted to add a sixth.
The proposed development also includes terraces at fifth-floor level, as well as alterations to elevations and internal layout, permission for the retention of car parking, and associated site development works.
When Navigation Square is fully finished, it will consist of four office blocks, A, B, C, and D, of which A (120,000 sq ft) and B (75,000 sq ft) are already completed adjacent to the River Lee.
A spokesperson for OCP confirmed that Block A is almost fully occupied. Clearstream Global Securities Services Ltd (Deutsche Borse Group) moved in in June 2019.
The spokesperson said Block B “is now ready for fit-out” and OCP is “in advanced discussions with a number of potential occupiers and is confident of a successful conclusion to those”.
“Blocks C and D will definitely proceed and we anticipate proceeding with Block C in 2021,” the spokesperson said.
Once all four blocks are completed, the Henry J Lyons-designed Bam-built Navigation Square will provide over 350,000 sq ft of “fourth generation” office space with an occupancy level of one person per eight sq m net internal office space — 3,000 people in total.
As regards the proposed modifications to Block D, the spokesman said the change in planning at this point “reflects the company’s confidence in future demand for commercial accommodation in Cork”.
“Notwithstanding the challenging business environment globally, there is still considerable interest in Cork Docklands, the development of which is now a key part of national strategic policy,” the spokesman said.
"The Docklands is the key to unlocking future economic development for Cork and the region and for commercial and residential development on a scale not previously seen in the city,” he said.
In 2019, OCP purchased a prime 31-acre Docklands site for €47.5m which has potential for up to 4m sq ft of development and has scope for up to 1,600 apartments for city-based office workers.